Kebenei is a fast dude wrote:
Why doesn't he have a chance? He's been doing marathon training in Kenya for the past 2+ months training with dudes that are probably faster than the top Americans, doing 40 km runs, etc. Korir doesn't need help. How does being a pace setter help Korir more than anyone else that might want a fast pace? It would help him too.
Kebenei serving as a pacer could help Korir because:
1) Korir would be the only racer to enter the race with specific knowledge of Kebenei's plan to go out at XX pace.
2) Without a pace-setter, it's likely that the race would be slower on account of the hills and the lack of incentive for any of the serious contenders to make an early move. As a result, more athletes would be in the mix for a spot with ~10k to go, benefitting someone like Lagat. Alternatively, if Korir commits to running, say, 2:09 pace from the get-go, he might reasonably conclude that the Lagats of the world won't pose a threat to him.
3) Yes, Kebenei serving as a pacer could also help "anyone else that might want a fast pace," but how many other racers actually fall into that category? Anyone besides Rupp, Ward, and maybe Fauble? Who else has shown that they can run at their level? Providing some help to the favorites is a small price to pay to make it a 3-5 man race (or whatever). And I'm sure Korir is confident in his ability to outkick the likes of Ward and Fauble if they're all together with a few miles to go.
As for Kebenei's chances, assuming he's clean, I simply don't see a steeplechase specialist/marathon debutant finishing in the top three in this field. There are too many good, proven marathoners here.